Noise from neighbours is a common source of nuisance. The main complaints are about barking dogs, loud music or television, shouting, banging doors, intruder alarms and do-it-yourself activities. We can all expect, or make, some level of neighbour noise as no house or flat is totally soundproof. However, if this noise amounts to a nuisance there is action the District Council can take to resolve the problem.
The problem may be poor insulation between properties, when perfectly reasonable noise from normal activity is heard in the adjacent property. It could be that some people are more sensitive or less tolerant to noise. In these cases there is little we can do apart from help with mediation. However, in cases where the noise is caused by unreasonable behaviour we may be able to help.
What can you do?
If you are being disturbed by noise from a neighbour, if possible approach them and explain that you are being troubled by their noise. Most people will be glad to do what they can to reduce noise, informally. Approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour might react angrily to a complaint.
If all else fails
Contact us to discuss your problem; let us know what is happening, how often and how the noise is affecting you. We will advise as much as we can. If you want to make a formal complaint we will ask you to complete a diary sheet giving times and dates and asking for a description of the noise and how it is affecting you. We will also contact the person(s) you are complaining about and make them aware a complaint has been made.
If the noise continues we will assess the problem and if appropriate serve an abatement notice which will require the noise to be stopped. Failure to comply with the notice may result in the matter being dealt with by the Courts.
Details of how a noise complaint is investigated is detailed in the District Council Noise Policy [PDF 10.8KB] document.
It maybe that we can't gather enough evidence to show an offence is being committed. In such cases, or where a person does not wish to involve us, private action may be taken through the Magistrates Court under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Although you can take this action yourself it would be advisable to contact us or your solicitor first for advice.